As you may have seen all over my Instagram (especially my stories), I have recently been to Ireland, I had such a lovely time and although I’ve been many times before I haven’t spent much time at all in these particular parts of the country.
We spent the first three days of our trip in Dublin with a trip to Northern Ireland to see the Giants Causeway. The first hotel we stayed in was The City North Hotel and was within half an hours drive of Dublin, the hotel was clean and modern with a nice restaurant and bar area. It was more of a business hotel as it had a conference centre attached however it suited us well as it was close to Dublin and the motorway.
The first day we had a bit of a lay in as we had spent time with family close by the night before and hadn’t got in until late, we enjoyed a full Irish breakfast at the hotel – the sausages were lovely and then we made our way into Dublin. First stop was the Guinness Storehouse, this is 100% worth a visit and as a side note there is free parking for the storehouse visitors which is definitely worth making the most of as in other areas of the city the parking is expensive. I wasn’t sure what to expect when stepping inside of the storehouse, we went on a Monday so queues weren’t too long but you can get much better deals on tickets and cut the queues if you book in advance. The storehouse itself was more interesting than I thought it would be, it went through things like how the Guinness is made and also showed the different marketing campaigns the company have run throughout the years. There was always something to look at or interact with when walking round the storehouse and at the end of the tour you can go up to the rooftop bar and enjoy a free pint of Guinness. I believe it’s one of the only buildings in the city with clear views across Dublin. We then made our way to Temple Bar, we took a detour to walk across the Ha’penny Bridge and then back to Temple Bar to visit the Hard Rock Café as this is a must in every city to collect the obligatory glass, right?
The next day we got up early, enjoyed another hotel breakfast and then made our way to Northern Ireland to visit the Giants Causeway. This was a 2.5 hour drive away but so worth it, as you can see from the photos the scenery is out of this world and kind of looks like it’s man made. It’s a National Trust attraction too so especially great if you have membership to this. There is a bus that runs down from the visitor centre to the causeway which I believe costs £1 each way so if you are less mobile it is still possible to visit. About 15 minutes away from the Giant’s Causeway is the equally as famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge which is also really worth a visit if you are in the area. I haven’t particularly got a fear of edges or heights however my legs turned to jelly on the 20 minute walk from the car park, the walk was actually quite difficult over rough terrain, up and down steps and hills too so if you aren’t very mobile or don’t like walking this attraction might not be the best to visit. The bridge itself seems completely safe but very wobbly especially in the wind, once you are over the bridge you’re onto a small island where you queue to get back over the bridge. A short drive away from here is the Bushmills Whiskey distillery, we unfortunately didn’t have enough time to do the tour here but the shop is worth a visit as they have branded and exclusive products, they also ship products to the rest of the UK and Europe for £8 which is great! We then spent the evening with family.
We spent Wednesday morning in Dublin Zoo which was nice but not impressive in comparison to the Zoo’s I’ve been to back in the UK and America. There was a lot of walking around the zoo and a lot of empty space, one of the plus sides was they did have a lot of baby animals including a tiny Elephant and a baby flamingo. The rest of the day was spent travelling to Sligo which took about two and a half hours. Here we stayed in the Sligo Park Hotel which was just on the outskirts of the town, the hotel had a pool, gym and a really cosy bar area that served great cocktails and food. This was the better of the two hotels we stayed in and there was a much more relaxed vibe here which is great when you want to unwind in the bar after jam packed days of exploring. The burger and carbonara were both really tasty and it was here where I first tried the West Coast Cooler Rose’ that I posted about on my Instagram, definitely my new favourite drink!
Thursday was our last full day and probably my favourite day of the trip. We started off in Strandhill which was a village about ten minutes away from where we were staying, this was one of the nicest places we visited by far. My mum went to the Voya Seaweed Baths in the village, she said it was absolutely amazing and left her skin and hair feeling so soft. This was recommended to us by the ladies in reception at our hotel so if you ever visit Sligo I’d make a trip there if that’s your kind of thing. The rest of us spent time walking along the beach and enjoying ice cream from Mammy Johnston’s ice cream parlour. It was such a cute place selling crepes, sweets and milkshakes as well as ice cream, it was hard to choose between the Amaretto or Crème Brulee flavour, well to be honest all of them looked amazing. We then went on to a place called Rosses Point, which was a nice beach area. We then went onto another lovely village called Mullaghmore, which was a great place to view the Ben Bulben mountain and was just really picturesque and peaceful. We walked around the harbour and then had a really tasty Seafood Chowder in the Pier Head Hotel, all of the restaurants in the village looked really nice with fresh seafood but I’d definitely recommend the Pier Head. After this we continued our journey to and around the Gleniff Horseshoe, this is about an hours drive through the mountains. The landscape is beautiful and we really did feel like we were deep into the countryside of Ireland with sheep running in the roads and little streams running down the mountains. Our last stop on the way back to Sligo was the Glencar Waterfall which is actually in Country Leitrim, this was free to visit and located by Glencar Lough. I’d really recommend taking a day out of the town if you are visiting Sligo and go on a drive around these areas as it really is a stunning part of the world and completely exceeded my expectations. We spent our last evening in Ireland in Jack B’s bar in our hotel enjoying great food and Irish Coffee’s.
Friday was a day spent travelling down the Wild Atlantic way to my Great Aunties house and then to Knock Airport where we flew home from. We got slightly lost so the only place we came across that seemed worth stopping at was Downpatrick Head.
I had such a great time in Ireland, I’m really glad we chose to base ourselves near Dublin and then Sligo as there was so much to do and fill our time with around these areas. I’d really recommend this kind of trip if you are only going for a few days as there was so much variety when choosing what to do in each place.